Benjamin Kuipers. 2008.
An intellectual history of the Spatial Semantic Hierarchy.
In Margaret Jefferies and Albert (Wai-Kiang) Yeap (Eds.),
Robot and Cognitive Approaches to Spatial Mapping.
To appear, Springer Verlag, 2008.


The Spatial Semantic Hierarchy and its predecessor the TOUR model are theories of robot and human commonsense knowledge of large-scale space: the cognitive map. The focus of these theories is on how spatial knowledge is acquired from experience in the environment, and how it can be used effectively in spite of being incomplete and sometimes incorrect.

This essay is a personal reflection on the evolution of these ideas since their beginning early in 1973 while I was a graduate student at the MIT AI Lab. I attempt to describe how, and due to what influences, my understanding of commonsense knowledge of space has changed over the years since then.


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